Joyful Benedictions for Our Beasties - NBC Southern California

Joyful Benedictions for Our Beasties

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    Some pups pose at the 2007 Olvera Street Blessing of the Animals.

    We can marvel, and we will, at the fact that the Blessing of the Animals at Olvera Street will be turning 81 on Saturday, April 23.

    But let us first marvel at the fact that animal blessings go back centuries, several centuries; Olvera Street tells us that San Antonio de Abad was named Patron Saint of the Animal Kingdom in the fourth century, and that requests for animal benedictions, for their health and fertility, were in full swing.

    So when revelers turn out at Olvera Street, and the humans are dressed up, and the iguanas and parrots are dressed up, call it a celebration that's been in the making for more than a millennium. 

    The convivial Easter Saturday celebration isn't just about sweet words said over an animal's head and fantastic photo ops, of course. Music is on the bill, and rescue groups will be on-hand to chat with people about adoption and such.

    We mentioned iguanas and parrots above. All sorts of animals show, some wearing flowers and other springtime finery, some au naturel. If you don't see your favorite beastie in the line-up, there will be a petting zoo offering more hands-on fun.

    The procession is at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, but the afternoon festivities run from noon to 5 p.m. Cue the happy barking/bleating/mewing, and, um. Iguana-ing? Whatever wonderful grunty noise iguanas may make, cue that, too.